EXCLUSIVE: Abby Lee Miller may be under indictment on 20 counts of fraud with a possible five years behind bars and $5 million in fines, but the Dance Moms host really doesn’t seem to in a hurry to defend herself. One day before she was scheduled to file already-prolonged pretrial motions against the feds’ case against her, Miller has asked for and today been grant a fourth extension. She now has until March 31 to file the required response paperwork to the government’s indictment of October 9.
“Upon consideration of Defendant Abigale Lee Miller’s Fourth Motion for Extension of Time to File Pretrial Motions, having been informed of the Government’s consent hereto, and finding that sufficient cause exists for the requested extension to allow Defendant’s counsel and the Government to resolve any potential discovery disputes and to enable Defendant’s counsel to make informed decisions concerning the filing of pretrial motions, it is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that said Motion is granted,” said Judge Terrence McVerry’s order of earlier today (read it here).
While it hasn’t been approved yet, Miller on Monday also sought the court’s permission to travel to Norway, the UK, Gibraltar, Spain and France from March 14-31 (read it here). The travel is for the Dance Moms host’s advertised Abby Lee Miller’s International Dance Adventure masterclass that she’s offering in the likes of Manchester and Liverpool. Seeking such permission for travel is a condition of her $10,000 unsecured bond in the case.
Miller is accused of hiding more than $755,000 in fees and other assets from the Collins Avenue-produced and Lifetime broadcast show in her ongoing bankruptcy court proceedings. Miller pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment on November 2 in Pittsburgh. The investigation of Miller’s finances began after the judge in her seemingly straightforward bankruptcy case watched Dance Moms on TV and questioned why money from the show wasn’t included as a part of that matter. Despite being noted several times in the indictment as paying funds for Miller to her mother, third-party vendors and others, Collins Avenue is not named as a defendant in the case.
In fact, besides running the risk that the judge might deny Miller’s requests to travel, which hasn’t happened yet, Collins Avenue kind of benefited from the case. Currently in is sixth season, the often-eruptive Dance Moms has continued to air throughout Miller’s legal troubles and, in that way reality TV does, often made them one of the focal points of the show. While no end date has been officially announced, the Season 6 finale is expected to be on May 3 – more than a month after Miller is supposedly going to file her response to the government’s case.
The Dance Moms host’s lawyer Robert Ridge filed the latest successful motion this morning with the stated agreement of Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci, who is prosecuting the case. According to this fourth extension, part of the holdup seems to the FBI’s photocopier at its Pittsburgh office. “The FBI is currently duplicating the documents which undersigned counsel marked at the FBI’s Office,” said Ridge’s filing of February 29.
Miller’s last granted extension request of January 28 informed the federal judge that additional time is needed for undersigned counsel to inspect and review the material located at the FBI’s Pittsburgh Office in order to perform a complete investigation of the facts and law before making informed decisions concerning the filing of pretrial motions.” Now it seems Ridge and Miller’s other lawyers have been by the local Bureau office and “reviewed the additional discovery material.”
At least that’s what they’re saying until that March 31 deadline gets closer.